NEW YORK (CBS) — Inflatable bounce houses have become a staple of children’s birthday parties and backyard barbecues, but as their popularity has gone up, so too has the number of injuries.
A new study finds on average 31 children are hurt every day.
The Wohlstetter kids love jumping around in their bounce house so much their mom keeps it indoors so they can play all year round.
“My children love it. They get their energy out,” says Meryl Wohlstetter. “They’re laughing, they’re giggling they make up games in the jumpy.”
Inflatable jumpers, known as bounce houses and moon walks, have become increasingly popular in recent years, but they can be dangerous.
A new study in the Journal Pediatrics finds the injury rate has skyrocketed from 5,300 emergency room visits in 2008 to more than 11,000 in 2010.
“Currently, we are seeing in a typical week one or two of these injuries, where in the past, it may be one a month,” says Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital.
The study also found more than a third of the injuries involved children younger than six.
Fractures and sprains are the most common complaint. Doctors say bouncers should be designed better to cut down on injuries.
Also, parents should take safety precautions like making sure the blower stays plugged, otherwise the inflatable could collapse. And parents should limit the number of users at a single time.
“Parents should be aware that if they choose to allow their children to jump in the devices, that they jump with children of similar size, age, weight and shape in order to avoid catastrophic injuries,” Dr. Glatter said.
Wohlstetter says she makes sure her children are careful.
“I haven’t had any problems, any injuries and the children love it,” she says. “If they follow the rules, it’s okay.”
She plans to let her kids keep jumping until they’re too big to use it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out against the home use of trampolines. The authors of the study say the Academy should consider whether to do the same for bounce houses.
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